Project Info

Bria Macklin
Howard University
Sravanti Kusuma
Optimization of Tube Formation in Type I Collagen Gel
Bria Macklin, Sravanti Kusuma, Sharon Gerecht
Endothelial Cells (EC) cultured in vitro rely heavily upon the extracellular matrix for support and
structure in order to form tubular structures. Collagen gels are a popular matrix for growing
various types of cells in a 3d environment. However, collagen gel procedures must be optimized
to obtain ideal cell spreading and tube formation
Here, we aim to optimize EC sprouting and tube formation as well as pericyte stabilization in vitro
in type I collagen gel. Pericytes, a type of mural cell, play an active role in angiogenesis such as:
sensing the physiological needs of the tissue and presence of angeogenic stimuli, sensing the
hemodynamic forces within the vessel, deposition or degradation of the extracellular matrix,
acting in cell-cell contact-dependent control of EC proliferation and signaling. Pericytes have also
been shown to migrate toward EC tubules to reach the abluminal surface on which they are
In this investigation, we explore different techniques to optimize EC tube formation and pericyte
recruitment from a derived population of ECs and pericytes over five days. We found that by
modifying the protocol, and seeding the cells into the gel last, a more even suspension of EC in
collagen gel can be obtained. Supplementing the EC-Collagen gel suspension with the growth
factors Interleukin-3 and Stem Cell Factor resulted in increased cell spreading beyond the gel’s
capacity. This optimizes system can be used to study multicellular interactions in a physiologically
relevant manner.